‘Handling The Undead’ Interview: Thea Hvistendahl On Her Emotional Zombie Drama

Handling the Undead isn’t your typical zombie movie, and that’s exactly how writer/director Thea Hvistendahl wanted it. Sure, the living dead walk the Earth, but the film isn’t about hordes of them attacking people and eating their brains. Instead, the story is a somber one, about the loved ones who must deal with the emotional impact of their return. If someone you loved and lost returned from the dead as a zombie, how would you treat them? As if they had never left? Or would you be able to let go, and recognize they are not the people you knew them to be?

These questions and many more linger over Hvistendahl’s Handling the Undead, a film she directed based on the book by Let The Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist. I had the pleasure of speaking with Hvistendahl about the film, her adaptation of the novel, and Lindqvist’s reaction to her minimalist take on the material. We also spoke about the choice in casting, specifically The Worst Person in the World actress Renate Reinsve and whether she was always in mind for the lead role.

Handling the Undead is in theaters now. Check out my interview with Hvistendal below.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.